Finally all in

February 21, 2012
All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am

-The Story / Brandi Carlile

I’ve sat at my computer working on my memoir for hours at a time this past year, day after day after day. Last week, some of those hours culminated in tears of frustration. So I zoomed up to San Francisco to talk to my writing coach about it.

“You’re giving the backstory way too soon,” she told me. “You’re frustrated on this section because you’ve lost the emotional beat that drives it.”

Ahhh. The realization was like a breath of fresh air. I drove home re-energized and ready to write again.

And then, an email, two cards and a phone call. On top of a 10-day trip that included related impactful emotional events.

And a lightning bolt from the sky struck: the realization that while it was true that I’d lost the beat, I’d also failed to fully accept that the story I need to write is not the one that I thought I was writing. That all along I’d been frustrated because I felt the book’s throughline was more than romance lost and found. It was deeper, bigger and more resonant.

“Teacher” didn’t embrace my idea from the start, a year ago, saying it wouldn’t be as fun to write or to read. And she’s probably right about some of that. Because she’s right pretty much all the time.

The result was that I dipped my toe in what I thought my theme was, but never fully embraced it, for fear that it was too big, too hard and I wouldn’t be able to swim. {That’s me, lounging on the diving board.}

But I quickly got bored with writing the romance part of it. Hell, if I wanted to do that, I’d write Harlequin novels and make loads of money. Nahhh. And so I floundered.

After lightning struck, I saw the end of the book clearly. And wrote it. Or at least what I think it’ll be. Oh, it’s poorly written, this first draft of the ending. But the feeling, the emotion, is in the right direction.

And so, I just plunged in, straight to the deep end. And while it may be deep, it’s also warm. Much warmer than a touching tale of love finding its way home again.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that I just spent the past 24 hours reconceptualizing my entire memoir and therefore redoing all of the emotional beats that drive the story.

Yes, of course, it’s full of heartbreaking romantic love lost, and love does find its way home.

But so does something else. Me.

Looks like I’m finally all in, like it or not.

Signing off with high hopes of a smoother writing road ahead. {And gratitude that this epiphany appeared while Teacher is away on vacation so I don’t have to explain it just yet.}

One comment on “Finally all in
  1. Anonymous says:

    good for you!!

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